Friday, January 09, 2009

Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act Passes Overwhelmingly In The House-- On To The Senate


We've covered the Lilly Ledbetter fight extensively here at DWT and I'm happy to report that what amounts to a law guaranteeing Equal Pay For Equal Work has passed once again in the House (just a couple hours ago), 247- 171. Five of the worst reactionary fake Democrats-- Allen Boyd (Blue Dog-FL), Bobby Bright (freshman wingnut-AL), Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK), Parker Griffith (freshman wingnut-AL), Travis Childers (wingnut-MS)-- joined all but 3 Republicans in voting against equal rights for America's working women. The 3 Republicans: Chris Smith (NJ), Ed Whitfield (KY) and Don Young (AK).

Here's the statement by the bill's sponsor, Rep Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) on passage:
“In this economy, families are struggling to make ends meet. Not one of them deserves to be shortchanged, but because women still earn 78 cents for every dollar men earn, many unfortunately are. But this does not need to be.  Today, by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, we send a strong message that gender discrimination is unacceptable and women will have the tools they need to combat it. We are standing up for working women and their families. It is our moment to fight for economic freedom and eliminate the systemic discrimination faced by women workers. With this legislation, we begin the change, make history, and change lives.”

The bill will once again go to the Senate, where McConnell and his reactionary allies, at the urging of their lobbyist paymasters, have filibustered it to death in the past-- and hope to do the same thing again. Can they? I doubt it. Forty-two Republicans voted against equal pay last time around and that includes two Republicans who were defeated in November, Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) and Ted Stevens (R-AK), each of whom was replaced by a strong proponent of equal rights for women, Kay Hagan and Mark Begich. And then there's McCain. He ducked the vote last year and this one will be a test of where he's going to be on mainstream issues, with the vast majority of Americans or with the extremist fringe. Perhaps someone should remind him-- as well as some of the Republicans who will face the voters in 2010 (like anti-equality fanatics Arlen Specter, Jim Bunning, Lisa Murkowski, Chuck Grassley, George Voinovich, Judd Gregg, David Diapers Vitter, John Thune, Johnny Isakson and, of course, the malevolent Jim DeMint)-- that in 2007, women earned only 80 cents for every dollar a man earned and that the pay gap was even greater for minorities, with African-American women making only 70 cents and Hispanic women making only 62 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts! Is that McCain's idea of putting America first?

I want to remind readers that the Republicans aren't the only enemies of working families in our country. Remember Congressmen Boyd, who has gubernatorial aspirations in Florida, right-wing Blue Dog kook Dan Boren, and reactionary neo-Confederates who the DCCC wasted millions of dollars on electing, Bobby Bright, Parker Griffith, and Travis Childers. Fortunately, every single Democrat in the Senate, from every region of the country, supports equal pay. I hope women voters in Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi remember who stood with them and who stood against them in 2010. (We'll remind you.)


Earlier today, the House passed the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 12) with an even wider margin, 256-163. Ten Republicans joined the Democrats to pass this law, which will amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes. Big Business lobbyists and the Chamber of Commerce nazis rallied Republicans against it, of course. The only Republicans brave enough to stand up to them were Anh Cao (R-LA), Howard Castle (R-DE), Charlie Dent (R-PA), the Diaz-Balart Brothers (R-FL), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Tim Johnson (R-IL), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chris Smith (R-NJ). Six of the ten, Dent, the Diaz-Balarts, Gerlach, Reichert and Ros-Lehtinen had tough challenges from Democrats in November and they will probably tread more carefully this year and next than they have in the past, at least when it comes to victimizing working families.

On the other hand, 3 reactionary freshman "Democrats" went the other way and joined the Republicans in voting against this: Bobby Bright (AL), Parker Griffith (AL) and Walt Minnick (ID). Thanks, DCCC for getting these three right-wingers into Congress as Democrats; they could never have done it without you!

Before the vote, the Republicans tried to use a parliamentary maneuver to kill the bill. It was soundly defeated 240-178. Interestingly 9 reactionary fake Democrats strolled across the aisle to vote with the GOP on this, knowing full well that these kinds of procedural votes don't get held against you when you go begging to labor unions for money at election time:

Bobby Bright (AL)
Chris Carney (Blue Dog-PA)
Travis Childers (MS)
Jim Marshall (Blue Dog-GA)
Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)
Walt Minnick (ID)
Harry Mitchell (AZ)
Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC)
Gene Taylor (Blue Dog-MS)

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At 1:53 PM, Blogger desmoinesdem said...

We should have the votes to break a filibuster on this in the Senate, after the gains in November, I would think.

Pathetic that any Democrats voted no. Even Leonard Boswell voted yes (in 2007 as well as today).

At 6:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I currently live in Bobby Bright's district. It has been in Republican hands for decades and would have remained so with any other Democratic candidate. I don't like him, didn't vote for him out of principle and agree that the DCCC shouldn't be spending valuable resources to help someone like him get elected, but at the same time the electable alternatives for Bright's seat would suck 95% of the time instead of 70% like he will. It could be worse and has been in the recent past.

At 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave Reichert has no courage.

He's just making sure this doesn't bite him in the ass next election.

At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a business owner, if I could pay women 78% what I pay men, I'd hire all women!

The fact is, the "78%" statistic does not take into account the number of women who take jobs that are flexible or not full time for child rearing purposes.

And there is nothing wrong with that- but at least call it as it is. Preaching fiction and creating a windfall for trial lawyers will only help to further destroy our economy.

Figures don't lie, but liars sure do figure...


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